Bel Air Presbyterian Church

★★★★☆
  • 16221 Mulholland Dr

    Los Angeles, CA 90049

    Map & Directions
  • 818-788-4200

About Bel Air Presbyterian Church

Details
Hours
SUN WORSHIP SERVICES CLASSICAL AT 9AM ; INTERACTIVE AT 9:01AM ; CONTEMPORARY AT 11AM & 6PM

Religion

Religion
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3.5 6
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I do not usually write reviews, but I have been so affected by this church that I simply must let people know my story.

I grew up going to this church (from 1998 to 2011), and my family still goes to this church. I remember as a young boy going to church every Sunday that there were a few sermons that stood out. In 2004 and 2005, there were a bunch of sermons that discussed homosexuality and how it is a "fallen" state of man. In fact, let me quote for you the exact words the preacher used (the transcripts are online).

"Homosexuality is a sign of those who have fallen away from the Lord."

"The homosexual will not inherit the Kingdom of God."

"Sex is between a man and a woman in a lifelong relationship called marriage."

"And if you struggle with homosexuality, I believe it's a call to celibacy, but a call to grace."

Hearing these sermons as a young boy had a huge effect on me. It "branded" my mind like a hot-iron. I am not welcome. I am sinful and destined for hell. Growing up, I truly believed that I had demonic desires. Christianity and fear were inextricably linked. I was constantly asking for forgiveness for a thought that I had, or a glance at someone of the same sex that, possibly, was a few seconds too long.

If you think the church has changed due to Pastor Drew Sams joining the church as head pastor, think again. Recently, another worshiper wrote a Yelp review about this church, dated 6/24/2014. In it, the person talks about how, in last Sunday's sermon, Pastor Drew Sams has decided to reject welcoming same-sex couples from getting married in the church. He has decided that people in same-sex relationships are living in unholy, unbiblical relationships that are not welcome in Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Upon stating this, many people in the congregation even started to applaud.

This church is NOT SAFE for gay and lesbian Christians.

What I find even more discomforting is the fact that young children in the congregation are being taught that homosexuality is sinful by Pastor Sams. I had mental health issues precisely because of that teaching. I hope and pray for the young, struggling lesbian and gay children who are sitting in those pews and listening to Pastor Sams tell them that their future relationships will be unholy, unbiblical, and unwelcome. They will never be able to get married to the person they love in their own church. They might have long-term psychological issues due to the internalization of Sams' homophobia. Most importantly, they might renounce Christianity as a direct result of Sams' unwelcome.

I hope and pray that the church will soon change and align itself with Jesus' love. I, sadly, cannot return to that church. If you are an LGBT Christian and are looking for a welcoming church, please realize that there are so many churches in Los Angeles that will welcome you and your relationships, and will bless them. Many Episcopal churches are similarly welcoming. I encourage you to not lose hope based on this one church, and instead allow yourself to be embraced by the many Christian churches who are extending their arms to you. We want you with us.

1
★☆☆☆☆

I do not usually write reviews, but I have been so affected by this church that I simply must let people know my story.

I grew up going to this church (from 1998 to 2011), and my family still goes to this church. I remember as a young boy going to church every Sunday that there were a few sermons that stood out. In 2004 and 2005, there were a bunch of sermons that discussed homosexuality and how it is a "fallen" state of man. In fact, let me quote for you the exact words the preacher used (the transcripts are online).

"Homosexuality is a sign of those who have fallen away from the Lord."

"The homosexual will not inherit the Kingdom of God."

"Sex is between a man and a woman in a lifelong relationship called marriage."

"And if you struggle with homosexuality, I believe it's a call to celibacy, but a call to grace."

Hearing these sermons as a young boy had a huge effect on me. It "branded" my mind like a hot-iron. I am not welcome. I am sinful and destined for hell. Growing up, I truly believed that I had demonic desires. Christianity and fear were inextricably linked. I was constantly asking for forgiveness for a thought that I had, or a glance at someone of the same sex that, possibly, was a few seconds too long.

If you think the church has changed due to Pastor Drew Sams joining the church as head pastor, think again. Recently, another worshiper wrote a Yelp review about this church, dated 6/24/2014. In it, the person talks about how, in last Sunday's sermon, Pastor Drew Sams has decided to reject welcoming same-sex couples from getting married in the church. He has decided that people in same-sex relationships are living in unholy, unbiblical relationships that are not welcome in Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Upon stating this, many people in the congregation even started to applaud.

This church is NOT SAFE for gay and lesbian Christians.

What I find even more discomforting is the fact that young children in the congregation are being taught that homosexuality is sinful by Pastor Sams. I had mental health issues precisely because of that teaching. I hope and pray for the young, struggling lesbian and gay children who are sitting in those pews and listening to Pastor Sams tell them that their future relationships will be unholy, unbiblical, and unwelcome. They will never be able to get married to the person they love in their own church. They might have long-term psychological issues due to the internalization of Sams' homophobia. Most importantly, they might renounce Christianity as a direct result of Sams' unwelcome.

I hope and pray that the church will soon change and align itself with Jesus' love. I, sadly, cannot return to that church. If you are an LGBT Christian and are looking for a welcoming church, please realize that there are so many churches in Los Angeles that will welcome you and your relationships, and will bless them. Many Episcopal churches are similarly welcoming. I encourage you to not lose hope based on this one church, and instead allow yourself to be embraced by the many Christian churches who are extending their arms to you. We want you with us.

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I feel like I'm in heaven when I'm at this church. Great music, friendly people, meaningful sermons, beautiful location.

Although BelAir is very large, it's easy to get plugged in to smaller groups... it's just up to you how involved you want to be. Many opportunities for community and ministry.

5
★★★★★

I feel like I'm in heaven when I'm at this church. Great music, friendly people, meaningful sermons, beautiful location.

Although BelAir is very large, it's easy to get plugged in to smaller groups... it's just up to you how involved you want to be. Many opportunities for community and ministry.

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The pastor is the real deal. The music is very good. The people are friendly, but you may have to make the effort to get involved in a subset (Bible study, class, outreach, etc.) to get to know others. The new "9:01" service is more interactive and you can bring your small children, too.

5
★★★★★

The pastor is the real deal. The music is very good. The people are friendly, but you may have to make the effort to get involved in a subset (Bible study, class, outreach, etc.) to get to know others. The new "9:01" service is more interactive and you can bring your small children, too.

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We tried out Bel Air Pres, which is a beautiful church with full programming and a terrific campus. We found that it was too large. We visited four times and no one made any effort to reach out to us. It is hard to notice a newcomer in such a huge group. For people who want a church with a large church feel, this is a very well-run church, but I found I prefer a smaller place.

4
★★★★☆

We tried out Bel Air Pres, which is a beautiful church with full programming and a terrific campus. We found that it was too large. We visited four times and no one made any effort to reach out to us. It is hard to notice a newcomer in such a huge group. For people who want a church with a large church feel, this is a very well-run church, but I found I prefer a smaller place.

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The service is nice...no one every knows you are there! If you want to stay on the fringe and never be an active member...this is the place. No one will bother you or ever know your name.

PROS: Pretty location...Bel Air!
CONS: This church is too big!

2
★★☆☆☆

The service is nice...no one every knows you are there! If you want to stay on the fringe and never be an active member...this is the place. No one will bother you or ever know your name.

PROS: Pretty location...Bel Air!
CONS: This church is too big!

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The only reason this church did not get a 5 in my rating is because it is so huge. The pastor is great. Funny, relational and relevent. He talks about issues that many churches and pastors avoid. The worship is great as well.

4
★★★★☆

The only reason this church did not get a 5 in my rating is because it is so huge. The pastor is great. Funny, relational and relevent. He talks about issues that many churches and pastors avoid. The worship is great as well.

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